Today, over 1,750 climate strikes will take place in some 110-odd
countries – Ireland included – inspired by actions of one 16-year-old
Swedish girl, Greta Thunberg.
This is the same Greta
Thunberg who was recently vetoed by European political parties, EPP and ALDE,
from giving a speech at the European Parliament. Fine Gael is a member of the
EPP, and Fianna Fail a member of ALDE.
Gael’s Euro-party position, it is curious that the Taoiseach is “inspired and enthused”
about this week’s climate strike. Is he inspired and enthused enough to show
real political commitment to dealing with climate change?
Ban on heavy fuel oil transportation from Arctic waters is on the agenda of the world’s shipping experts.
specialists from around the world are shuttering themselves in the
International Maritime Organization’s central London headquarters this
week to thrash out a number of issues surrounding the threat of
pollution to the climate and oceans from the global shipping industry.
At this meeting, the elegantly titled “PPR6”,
delegations will be tasked with designing a ban on the use and carriage
of heavy fuel oil, as fuel, from Arctic waters, and the identification
of measures which will reduce emissions of black carbon from the burning
of fossil fuels.
Back in early 2017, I wrote a blog, 2016 in review: What I Got Up To and What Happens Next, about what I’d been working on, and who I had been working with. It was a way of thanking everyone I had collaborated with during the year, to take stock and to get me thinking about the future.
I also wanted to explore how people really use social media tools like LinkedIn. Despite time spent – or wasted – making connections on digital social networks, we often have no idea what our friends, and colleagues – and even family are working on. I wanted to see who was engaged, and what ideas could be fired up.
I do comms and strategy. That is, I write and communicate, mostly on environmental campaigns and science issues, as well devising ways to help organisations achieve their ambitions. As people – friends, family, even clients – are often perplexed as to what this involves, I thought I’d have a go at actually communicating about what I do all day.
Doing comms does include traditional press officer tasks – like pushing “send” on media releases and haranguing overworked journalists. Getting a story published, however is only part of the job. Communications shouldn’t happen as an afterthought or in isolation, or for its own sake. It doesn’t matter how many centillions of people Like, Retweet or even read (heaven forbid) what I’ve just catapulted out into the ether, if this frenzy of attention cannot be converted into some kind of real world action. Continue reading “Doing Comms: What does a Communications Advisor Do All Day?”
Photograph: Jim Walsh, 1942-2017. The Da – my father, photographed on 3rd June 2011.
I said goodbye to my father last week. My sister, brother and I all spoke at his funeral. Here’s something I wrote, based on what I said:
Fourteen years ago, I phoned him to tell him that I’d been offered to sail on the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior, on a trip in the Tasman Sea off New Zealand. “That’s a great opportunity, Dave, you should consider it”. “Too late, Dad, I’ve already said yes”. He paused. “How did you get into all this stuff anyway?” Continue reading “The River Flows”
Having escaped police violence during Catalonia’s independence referendum on October 1st, trouble arrived this week in the town of Sant Cugat, where I live, just north of Barcelona.
On Monday night, an angry group of 300 people, waving Spanish flags, used knives to rip down a large banner that hung from the town hall. The banner read “Llibertat Presos Politics” – “Freedom for Political Prisoners” – in support of the Catalan government ministers and activists currently jailed in Madrid, following the recent declaration of the Catalan Republic.
Opinion: I want no part in a regime that hospitalises peaceful people who just want to vote
We spent from 5.30am on Sunday morning at the local library, or biblioteca, less than 100m from my home in Sant Cugat del Vallès, a town of 87,000 just over the hill from Barcelona. My partner and her father are from the French part of Catalonia, or Catalunya Nord, as it’s known. None of us could vote in the independence referendum, but after the authoritarian behaviour of the Spanish authorities in recent weeks, we wanted to help protect the voting centres.
As the sky slowly brightened outside, people chatted, read books, tried to sleep. Others had tea or coffee, or ate from the massive buffet of snacks that had appeared on a table. The Mossos d’Esquadra, the Catalan police, had visited the voting centres to check what was going on, then left. Everyone was prepared to block any seizure of voting materials, but I don’t think anyone was expecting the violence that the day would bring.
By 9am, the ballot box had appeared and the voting centre had been set up. We were all outside by now, protecting the door, looking in the window and applauding as the first vote was cast.
This is the message, in English, that many Catalans have been sending out to the rest of Europe, in the run up to this Sunday’s planned independence referendum.
Most Catalans, or more correctly, most people, who can vote here want to have a say, in what the Catalan Generalitat (regional government) has said will be a binding vote. Depending on which polls you read, less than half of voters want independence. While these stats are widely reported, I did read a poll today that suggested there would be 63% or more turnout and an 83% yes vote.